We Believe in the Future of Rural America

A Blueprint for Rural Renaissance

About RuralWorks

Introducing RuralWorks: A Source of Integrated Capital for Rural Businesses
The promised renaissance of rural America has been a long time coming. With nearly 60 million Americans living in rural communities, tremendous opportunities exist to grow rural economies through investment and collaboration. We believe there is a path forward. We believe in the future of Rural America.

With very little institutional growth capital finding its way to rural communities, businesses find it challenging to scale, build economic mobility and generate community wealth.

 

We Have a Strategy to Help!
RuralWorks provides integrated capital to growth-oriented businesses operating in rural communities. By creatively engaging a range of local and national resources and partners, RuralWorks creates value and outcomes rooted in local people, places and businesses.

When investing in a local business, RuralWorks is making an investment in the local community that surrounds it, bringing fresh sources of relevant experience, access to extensive networks of resources, and, of course, access to much needed equity capital. Engaging and supporting local businesses and the communities that surround them is our blueprint for a rural renaissance, a blueprint designed to grow businesses, build economic mobility and generate community wealth and resilience.

Investors

Appropriate Risk-Adjusted Returns

RuralWorks provides investors access to institutional-quality, growth-oriented investment opportunities in rural America, helping them diversify their portfolio, earn an appropriate risk-adjusted return and achieve their financial goals.

Revitalization of Rural Communities

RuralWorks helps investors achieve their mission-related objectives by investing in forward-leaning companies who recognize that creating quality jobs and employee prosperity helps build better businesses and stronger, more resilient local communities that further contribute to their success.

Institutional Investment and Impact Expertise

Our investors benefit from the private equity and community development experience and skillsets of our team and our ability to appropriately balance and generate market-rate financial objectives and mission-critical social outcomes for both our portfolio companies and our institutional investors.

Rural businesses

Source of Patient Capital

RuralWorks provides growth-oriented businesses operating in rural communities with access to equity capital for a range of needs including organic growth, the purchase of a business or material asset, the financing of an ownership transition, the restructuring of the balance sheet or any number of special situations that call for patient capital.

Vast Network of Resources

RuralWorks helps businesses grow and become better corporate citizens through sharing our own expertise and by leveraging local, national and international sources of expertise, networks and other resources tailored to the unique needs of each business.

Mission-aligned Partner

Like you, RuralWorks believes that offering your employees quality jobs that pay a living wage and an engaging and safe workplace makes for a better, more valuable business. Also like you, RuralWorks is deeply committed to the communities that surround you. That’s why we work hard to help you, your employees and your community build wealth and economic resilience over the long term.

Communities

Collaboration

When RuralWorks invests in a rural business, we’re also investing in the local community. Accordingly, RuralWorks engages local partners to help us understand the unique attributes and needs of the community and help us design appropriate strategies, make critical connections, and deliver impactful resources that positively impact not only our investment but the surrounding community now and in the future.

Community Development Momentum

RuralWorks will support businesses having a commitment to good corporate citizenship and their local community development ecosystems, adding our resources – knowledge, networks and capital – to the mix of community assets needed for businesses to thrive.

Long-Term Impact

Directly and through our networks, we work to create connectivity between our rural businesses and their local communities in a manner that provides ongoing benefits to the community and which helps to ensure that these businesses have a sustainable path to lasting growth within communities.

Areas served

RuralWorks targets businesses located in rural areas* in the Northeast and the Upper Midwest where our community and economic development partners are active

OUR TEAM

Skip Wyer

Skip is RuralWorks’ Chief Investment Officer and member of the Investment Committee. Skip brings over 35 years of finance and investment management experience, creating and deploying a broad range of debt and equity investment structures across numerous industries, markets and cycles. Skip founded and ran Linea Capital where he supported businesses in the sustainable agriculture, clean tech and real estate sectors. Skip was earlier a portfolio manager at Värde Partners where he managed a $600 million private equity portfolio and before that a member of Cargill’s venture capital division where he focused in food and agriculture related technology investments. Skip lives and works in rural Vermont.

Terry Farley

Terry is RuralWorks’ Chief Operating Officer. She brings 35 years of experience in the financial services industry, including extensive experience in building and growing companies. During tenures at Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse, Terry built two asset-based warehouse lending facilities and created a residential mortgage loan origination platform. Earlier, Terry oversaw the growth and innovation associated with the securitization and distribution of $130+ billion mortgage and asset-backed securities at GMAC-Residential Funding Corporation, led investor relations, and was a key executive in the analysis and execution of GMAC-RFC’s business expansions. Terry began her career practicing corporate law at Dorsey & Whitney, focusing on M&A transactions and asset securitizations. She also has experience consulting non-profit organizations, managing distressed assets and as a member of various boards. Terry works out of RuralWorks’ office in Minnesota.

Lousia Schibli

Louisa is RuralWorks’ Chief Connections Officer and a member of the Investment Committee. She is the co-founder and CEO of Milk Money Vermont, an online equity crowdfunding platform connecting everyday Vermonters to Vermont businesses looking to raise capital. She’s a recent fellow at RSF Social Finance’s Integrated Capital Institute, focusing on the support of financial activists and use of different forms of financial, social and natural capital to generate positive social and environmental change. She’s also   a founding member of the Vermont Women’s Investor Network (VTWIN) that supports female investors, founders and local innovation ecosystems. Having lived in Switzerland for 12 years and earlier in her career, she worked in physical commodities trading at Glencore. She is a current fellow at the Vermont Leadership Institute. Louisa lives and works in rural Vermont.

Other investment committee members

Jennifer Anderson

Jennifer, President and CFO for Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF), is responsible for the operations of the organization and the stewardship of its financial assets. Jennifer has extensive experience as a senior executive in the financial services industry. Prior to joining CRF, Jennifer served as vice president and treasurer of AgriBank, a Farm Credit System institution. Jennifer is headquartered with CRF at their offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Robert Zulkoski

Robert is co-founder and CEO of Conduit Capital and a founding shareholder of The Conduit. Robert brings 35 years investment management experience and as general partner invested over US $5bn of fiduciary capital. Robert built several large-scale fund management platforms and played a lead role in several successful business start-ups as a personal investor, advisor and/or board member. Robert will work out of RuralWorks’ headquarters in Vermont.

Keith Rachey

Keith, Senior Vice President and Chief Impact Officer for Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) is responsible for the firm’s growth strategy, marketing, community engagement, strategic partnerships and capital raising. Prior to joining CRF, Keith founded and sold two technology companies and worked with a family office to build an investment portfolio of technology companies. Keith works for CRF out of their offices in Minnesota.

Asha Lad

Asha is Head of Investment Partnerships at Conduit Capital. She will serve as an advisor to the management team, a non-voting member of the investment committee and a full member of RuralWorks Board of Managers. Asha has over 17 years principal investment experience in private equity, credit and venture capital having underwritten over US$30 billion across a range of asset types, structures, markets and cycles. Earlier she was on the private equity teams at Lehman Brothers, HSBC/InfraRed and Värde Partners and was on Accenture’s corporate strategy and M&A teams. Asha was on the Global Real Estate Investment Committee and the ESG/Philanthropy working groups at Värde. She works at Conduit Capital’s offices in London.

FAQs

WHAT IS RURALWORKS?

RuralWorks is a $100 million impact fund focused on providing equity capital to growth-stage businesses operating primarily in rural communities.

WHO CREATED RURALWORKS?

RuralWorks was created by Community Reinvestment Fund, a national non-profit Community Development Financial Institution bringing innovative financial products and services designed to increase access to capital for historically underserved communities and Conduit Capital, an alternative investment impact management company focused on creating innovative financial platforms designed to help solve the world’s most pressing problems.

WHAT AREAS ARE SERVED?

RuralWorks targets businesses operating primarily in rural communities located in the Northeast and the Upper Midwest, though will consider investments anywhere in the USA. 

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF RURAL?

The USDA defines rural as an area outside a standard metropolitan statistical area or within a community with a population of 50,000 or less.

WHAT IS INTEGRATED CAPITAL?

The coordinated and collaborative use of financial, human and social capital in support of growing businesses committed to the creation of quality jobs and more prosperous rural communities.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

Eligible businesses should:

  • Report $1 million or more of stable, recurring revenue
  • Provide products and services with demonstrable market acceptance
  • Be committed to executing a quality jobs strategy for their employees
  • Serve or plan to serve markets well beyond their local geography
  • Generate or have visibility to positive cash flow

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